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• Started with John Kay’s invention of flying shuttle, 1733
• James Watt’s steam engine (1769) should be mentioned
• Characteristics: Mechanization.
• Impact on industry: shifted from cottage industry with craft to mass production with machine tools.
‘Products’ of 1 st Industrial
• Steam engine;
• Internal combustion engine;
• Electricity, and its use: -
• Train, automobile, airplane, ocean vessel;
• Bulldozer, excavator;
• Refrigerator, air-conditioner;
• Weapon; -
1 st Industrial Revolution: a two-edge sword?
• So many benefits and advantages it has brought to us.
• Any negativity?
• Founded in 1811.
• Central issue: Workers’ job security threatened by mechanization and automation.
• Automation vs. job has been a ‘pain’ issue in the process of industrial revolution, even up to now.
• Technological progress eliminates some current jobs.
• Does new tech create more new jobs than those displaced?
• Do the new jobs pay more of less than the older ones?
• What about the workers who are displaced?
• In 1870, 31% of Americans, or 12 millions, had jobs
• In 1985, 48% of Americans, or 116 millions, had jobs.
• GNP per capita was $530 in 1870, and
$3,500 in 1970 (in 1958 dollars), which increase 6 times.
• Percent of American workforce that involved in food production:
In 1900, 34%;
In 1990, only 3%.
• It is now in progress.
• It is led and inspired by computers.
• It extends and multiplies our mental abilities, comparing to the 1 st industrial revolution that extends and multiplies our physical capabilities.
‘Products’ of 2 nd Industrial
• Computers (PCs, …)
• Cell phones
• CD, DVD, MP3, digital camera, …
• Gene engineering
• Embedded in most modern machines
• Humans are increasingly relying on machines whose intelligence may be as flawed as our own.
• Technology can be, and is already, a powerful ally of the totalitarians and terrorists. – This danger is real, not
• Computers use almost no natural resources.
• Value of a ‘high tech’ product lies primarily in the ‘knowledge’ (rather than materials) it contains.
• The value of knowledge and technology reflects the cost of research and development (R&D) of the product’s hardware and software, as well as the cost to maintain the ability of continuing to advance and further the R&D.
• The power of computer technology (the ratio of speed over cost) has doubled every 18 to 24 months.
• This is called the Moore’s Law.
A Unprecedented Challenge to
Our Superiority of Intelligence
• The 1 st industrial revolution has helped human become superior in physical capability.
• The 2 nd industrial revolution is helping machines achieve intelligence, which may become superior in mental capability on top of us.
• Is our intelligence unique and insuperable?
• It is the earth that circles the sun, rather than the sun circles our earth.
• Nicolaus Copernicus, Polish, 1473 – 1543, published his theory in book <On the
Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres> in
• Machines that are getting smarter are a sword of two edges. It is looming large no matter whether we like it or not.
• It cannot be stopped.
• We need to comprehend it, live with it, harness it constructively, and turn threats into challenges.
How Far Can 2 nd Revolution Go?
• The machines of 1 st revolution have over performed our muscles.
• Do you think the machines of 2 nd revolution will over perform our brains?
• Comparing to the 1 st one, the 2 nd industrial revolution is a continued process which will last long and whose impacts on human beings are divergent, boundless, and beyond estimation.
While the first industrial revolution increased the demand for and the value of natural resources, the second industrial revolution is doing the opposite
(Bottom of page 8, paragraph 18)
• Do you agree? Why or why not?